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O'ahu born and Rockville bred, both Maryland and Hawai'i are home. Middle-aged knitter (believe me, my 40 is NOT the new 20) seeking the courage to live consciously, each and every moment. Now if I could just remember where I put my keys...

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

2011. 2011. 2011. 2011. 2011. Yep. Resolutions. #1 - Good Walk! Good Boy!

Sit Ubu, sit!  Good dog!
I try not to fall into the trap of "changing" my life by resolutions anymore - it reminds me of each new semester as a child, promising myself and my parents that I would, like magic, become the exceptional student who aced all courses and lived up to her potential.

Ick.  I hate potential.

But here I am, with a bunch of things that are causing me discomfort in my life now and that really are inspiring me to CHANGE.  'Cuz I want to enjoy life more.  And I think I can with a few changes.  So, humor me with a few ideas about what can make 2011 a lovely, happy year.

First up:  Enjoying walking with the dogs.  Recently, Chester's constant pulling while on lead is wearing on my joints (or maybe I'm just noticing it more because I know I have unhappily aging connective tissue and am expecting pain and discomfort).  (I know, enough with the whining.  OK, won't mention it again.)  Things are at the point where walking with Chester, especially, is feeling out of control.  He's darting from one enticing smell to the next, all 70+ lean pounds of him, utilizing torque (and other physical laws I have no understanding of) to maximize Sniff Opportunities and to block out civilization (me).

Solution to the pulling:  Out the gate, putting him on Sit.  This means a Sit when the lead is getting attached, a Sit while the unit door is opening, a Sit before each landing, a Sit at the front door, and me going out the doors first.  Then, once outside, when excessive pulling is happening, "Sit".  I've done this a couple times this week and it's been a great success!

What is hard is that I (me, myself and I) need to be CONSISTENT - this needs to happen every walk.  I need to be present to be sure that both me and Chester have a good walk.  So often when walking the dogs, I'm still in my head about whatever has been going on that day - I'm still at work, thinking of a problem or problems; I'm puzzling over what I should have said when and to whom; I'm thinking, thinking, thinking, and the walk that is happening is just a blur and a chore and not a time where I'm connecting with Chester.  And he really loves to connect.

He really wants to be a good boy, but I need to interrupt his pulling behavior while on lead with something he can do and do to praise.  And this dog can sit (if you've followed this blog, you've seen the pictures - Chester's a champion sitter!).

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Watching Law & Order: UK - methinks there's a reason they only wear those wigs in court.

This is actually Cat's Holiday 2010 Scarf (Preppie Scarf by Anni Howard)

So, quick question:  how the heck is it almost 2011?  Huh?

How did your holiday knitting go?  Were you like me, knitting on 3 projects on 12/24, and looking at some you spent time on in November turning out to be not quite right and needing to be replaced?

I'm pretty satisfied with my knitting this holiday season.  Yes, what I thought I was going to give and what I actually gave changed drastically from Labor Day (the beginning of my holiday knitting cycle each year) to December 24.  Yes, I am still knitting on ONE item that was not ready 12/25.  And yes, oh yes, oh yes, I overbought yarn.  (Boy did I overbuy yarn.  Super oh-boy.)  I'm awash in Silk Garden, and wishing I had more Kochoran.

What I didn't do, to my own satisfaction, was speak of knitting shops and blog and take good pictures of my projects.  But this can be remedied... 2011, here the heck we come.  Ready or not!

Stick with me, baby.  We'll find a way...

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Zender's Words of Wisdom:


Thanks for the ice cream scoop, Christine!  It's beautiful and I will use it - for great hand-made wooden gifts check out Christine's site at www.czender.com.

Still knitting coffee cuffs like no tomorrow.

Happy holiday prep - the home stretch - 10 more days (or less)!

________

Monday, December 13, 2010

Coffee Cuffs: the recipe.

You Need:
  • YARN:  At least a third of a skein of yarn that makes a nice flexible stocking stitch that measures about @ 18 stitches to 10 cms or 4 inches (off by 2 stitches either way will work if the yarn has enough springiness).  I am really liking yarns that have at least 50% wool for this.  I say a third of a skein because you will get at least one cuff out of it, maybe more, and you can figure out how many you can get out of a skein if you want to make more than one.
  • NEEDLES
    • Some way to knit in the round - dpns or magic loop.  I advise size 7 needles for Russian or Combination knitters, and size 8s for folks who knit straight Continental or English style.  I like 5 needles (4 to hold stitches and a working needle).
    • A larger straight needle (I like a 10 or 10.5).
    • Crochet hook to finish, and scissors.
To Make:
  1. Cast on in a flexible stitch - I like cable cast on - cast on 32 stitches on the big straight needle.
  2. Transfer 8 stitches each to 4 of the dpns or your loop.
  3. Knit 6 rounds of 1x1 rib (k1, p1).  If you want to mark the beginning of your rounds, do that, but I just figure out by the tail where that is and refer to it throughout the project.
  4. Start the stocking stitch middle section with one decrease stitch of whatever of your decreases blends best into stocking stitch.  I do a SSK because my stitches mount the needle in the Russian/Combination way and this gives me a nice decrease without twisted stitches.  If you knit in the English/Continental way, you will probably do a K2tog.
  5. Sooooo... Count that decrease as your first stitch and knit 45 stitches.  Do another decrease and count it as the first stitch and knit 45 stitches.  Do this until you have 24 stitches left.  If you lose count anywhere feel free to wing it - it's not like the cup is going to complain!  
  6. Once you're down to 24 stitches knit around the cuff until you get to the "end" - knit to the needle that has the tail under the first stitch waaaaay down at the bottom where you started knitting.
  7. Here you want to make it so that your 4 sets of stitches are 6 each to make the ribbing easier.
  8. Do 5 rounds of 1x1 rib.
  9. Cast off however you like very loosely.  I like to cast off using the big needle and a K2tog, transfer stitch to left needle, K2tog, transfer stitch to left needle, repeat until finished, bind off.
  10. Use the crochet hook to make "finished" rounds with the yarn tails, and then hide them however you like (I slide them down a column of the ribbing, pull tight, cut, and stretch the ribbing out).
I am now at the point where I can make one in 40 minutes or so.  I especially like yarn with long color repeats, like the Noro Kochoran.

I've found that the top/widest part can be turned down to make a cuff to fit the shorter cups.

Salud!

Coffee Cuff 2010

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Woo hoo! Another one bites the dust (dum, dum, dum, and another one down and another one down...)

I keep telling Chester Freddie Mercury would be so proud of his modeling skills. And this one is not truly done until washed and blocked but it's bound off!

Kind of makes up for the realization yesterday that another scarf I was about half through was pretty freakin' butt-ugly. Wah! Good pattern but bad color striping juxtaposition. I love Noro until I hate Noro...

Happy Festival of Lights. Shalom to us all.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Adamant Knitter, part B - Busy, Backlogged and Betrothed

Don't be getting any ideas from the sparkle - it's not a diamond. Didn't want one. But it is an engagement ring and I'm a very happy camper.

Blogging has been taking a back seat to knitting - methinks I ordered more yarn than I can possibly ever knit up... And knowing that 2011 brings a lot of changes is heavy on my mind - in a good way. In a responsible for another person and our blended furbaby family way. In a gotta make some plans and dreams and not just drift kinda way. And work challenges are flying in but they are mostly good.

So my little brain is a bit scrambled and as I knit it gets sorted out.

I love my life. It's a good place to be. More knitting project catch-up eventually...

Happy December. 24 more knitting days (less if you are doing the hourly countdown). God bless us every one!